Tips for reducing your teen’s risk of misusing prescription painkillers

  • Closeup of male hand unlocking cabinet nattul—Getty Images/iStockphoto

  • Oxycodone is the generic name for a range of opoid pain killing tablets. Prescription bottle for Oxycodone tablets and pills on wooden table with USA flag in background Steve Heap

Wednesday, September 26, 2018

■  Consider non-medical interventions including the tried-and-true RICE  (Rest, Ice, Compression, Elevation) method.

■  Try physical therapy, massage, acupuncture or meditation as alternatives to pain medication.

■  In the event of an injury, ask your treating physician whether other medical interventions might be effective, such as nerve blockers or high-dose anti-inflammatory drugs.

■  When medicating, try lower-level interventions first. Studies show that alternating doses of ibuprofen and acetaminophen can be as effective, if not more, than opiates.

■  If a dentist or doctor is writing a prescription for 15 or 30 opiates, ask if the number can be smaller.

■  If you have a large quantity prescribed, ask your pharmacist for a partial fill. This means, if you need more, you can go back to the pharmacy to get more, but you won’t have excess pills around the house.

■  Lock all medicines. Websites such as LockMed and Pill Pod sell a variety of locking cases so families can find the option that works best for their needs.

■  Never let your teens self-administer opiates, no matter how responsible they are. “It is never appropriate that a child or young teen or even an older teenager manages their pain pills alone at home,” said Greenfield Dr. Ruth Potee in a video titled “Athletes, Opioids & Addiction.”

■  If you have excess opiate medication, or any medication not being used, drop it off in a prescription drug drop box found at most police stations. In addition, there will be local participation in the national Drug Take Back Day on Oct. 27, 10-2 p.m. at locations around Hampshire and Franklin counties. For more information, visit northwesternda.org

To view “Athletes, Opioids & Addiction,” visit: vimeo.com/176348153

For free copies of the state Department of Public Health publication “Preventing Prescription Opioid Misuse Among Student Athletes,” visit massclearinghouse.ehs.state.ma.us/category/ALCH.html

Also on the Mass Clearinghouse site (which provides its materials at no cost) you can also find a helpful guide for speaking to teens titled “To help protect your kids, talk to them about opioids. Stop addiction before it starts.”